May 8, 2013 / Issue IV

Featured resource 

APHA Webinar: Built Environment Approaches for Improving Community Health
Thursday, May 9, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm CST 
This webinar will feature two counties that have taken different approaches to changing the built environment around them in order to improve the health of their communities.  Register 
Please scroll to bottom of this page for more info or visit our website for upcoming events! 
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Healthy Living Matters Youth Ambassadors Summit a Success! 


Friday, May 3, Healthy Living Matters (HLM) hosted a Youth Ambassadors Summit to honor students from Wheatley High School and members of the Youth Police Advisory Council (YPAC). The youth have been active members of the HLM project, providing recommendations for policy changes in their schools and communities that could make healthy living easier. Students from KIPP Sunnyside were also in attendance to support their peers.

During the summit, attendees heard presentations from the youth on Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, the Built Environment, and Plans and Policies. Presentations were followed by a panel discussion, during which the youth discussed barriers to healthy eating and physical activity and called for a strong movement for healthy living in their communities. In honor of the strong participation of their youth, Wheatley High School and YPAC were each awarded $2,500 to make healthy changes in their school and organization.

To view the students' full presentations, please visit our website.

Wheatley High School, represented by Ms. Stephanie Adams (left) and YPAC, represented by  

Ms. Rhonda Holmes (right), accept their $2,500 awards.   


Texas Obesity News


Senate approves bill targeting child hunger


The one in four Texas children who are food insecure could be assured a free meal every school day - breakfast - if a bill approved by the Senate on Tuesday continues to advance.  


"Passage of this bill is crucial because so many Texas children rely on school meals during the academic year," Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. said in a statement. "One in four Texas children are food insecure, meaning they are not certain where their next meal will come from. This bill helps close the gap between a hungry child and a healthy child."


Senate Bill 376, authored by Lucio, would require schools with 80 percent or more of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals to offer free breakfast to each student. The measure is cost-neutral and potentially profitable, according to the bill's analysis, because the schools could qualify for additional financial incentives.


The bill now moves to the House for further consideration. Full article   

Texas compares favorably on health care costs, but still has work to do on obesity


Texas stacks up favorably in a Wall Street Journal article giving state-by-state comparisons of health care costs, but the state still has work to do on problems such as obesity, the chief of the hospital council in North Texas told me in a conversation this afternoon.


Health-care spending in the U.S. averaged $6,815 per person in 2009; in Texas it averaged $5,924.

"Not bad, but there's room for improvement", said Steve Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, who took a closer look at the numbers.


"Obesity is hurting us in Texas," he told me. "It's one of the highest obesity rates in the nation." Full article   


Bill to ban purchase of junk food with Lone Star unlikely to become law

The bill to prohibit the purchase of junk food with the Lone Star, continues to be reviewed by a committee of the House of Representatives, but with little chance of becoming law.

 "We will insist to approve, but some lawmakers have shown opposition to the committee. However there is still a chance to approve it during the month of May," said Richard Pe´┐Ża Raymond. State Representatives
said that the goal of this bill is to have healthier families and avoid consuming foods that harm adults and children. The official said that allowing this practice is to encourage families to get sick and become a burden to the state when they need medical assistance to fight diabetes, hypertension and other illnesses caused by overweight and obesity. Full article 


National Obesity News

Study shows children who live in 'walkable' neighborhoods are less likely to be overweight

As parents, physicians and policymakers look for ways to curb childhood obesity, they may need to look no further than a child's own backyard. A new study shows that preschool children are less likely to be obese if they live in a neighborhood that is safe and within walking distance of parks and retail services. Full article   


Fresh fruit and vegetable program helps boost consumption at
low-income elementary schools

Students at elementary schools participating in USDA's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program consumed 15 percent more fruits and vegetables, based on an agriculture department study released today.

The study conducted by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service found that fruit and vegetable consumption increased by a third of a cup among students participating in the program, compared to non-participating students. Increased consumption of fruit accounted for most of the change. The increase in fruit and vegetable consumption through the program doesn't appear to substantially increase calories in children's diets. Full article   


School breakfasts beneficial for student health, education: Serving meals in class shows promise

Middle school principal Sean McElhaney was already sold on the idea that children needed a nutritious breakfast to succeed in school. But what cemented his desire to expand the breakfast program in his Anne Arundel County, Md., school was one student who, during a standardized test, wrote "I don't care," and then refused to complete the test.


The student, sent to McElhaney's office for disciplinary action, said he could not concentrate because he had not had anything to eat since lunch the previous school day.


"We always say breakfast is the most important meal, and yet, this was a kid living (without it)," said Molly McCloskey, MEd, Maryland director of the No Kid Hungry campaign. Full article



Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation leads to modest changes in diet quality

The evidence as to whether SNAP participation is beneficial or adverse regarding diet quality is inconclusive. Nevertheless, two sets of observations emerge from the study. First, the study shows the effects of SNAP participation on those who choose to participate. SNAP increases the likelihood that participants will consume whole fruit by 23 percentage points; it also induces participants to decrease their intake of dark green/orange vegetables by a modest amount- the equivalent of about 1 ounce for a 2,000-calorie diet. Full article
Upcoming Events


Webinar: Built Environment Approaches for Improving Community Health

Thursday, May 9, 12:30-1:30pm CST 

Register here    


Transportation for America Webinar: Funding the Future- State Transportation Revenue Proposals

Thursday, May 16, 1-2pm 

Register here   


Livable Houston Initiative  

Wednesday, May 22, 12-1:30pm 

H-GAC Building 2nd Floor, Room C, 3555 Timmons Ln. Houston, TX 77027
More information

Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties Webinar: Goal V: Active Kids at Play (Part 2)
Thursday, May 23, 2-4pm CST
Transportation Policy Council
Friday, May 24, 9:30-11:00am


Toral Sindha, RD, LD

Community/ Stakeholder Engagement Team Lead 


Susan Lackey, MPH

Community/ Stakeholder Engagement Team Coordinator